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Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday celebration to be held Jan. 14-16

As part of the observance of the national Martin Luther King Day holiday, the Martin Luther King, Jr., West Virginia Holiday Commission, the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History and West Virginia State University (WVSU) will sponsor three events from Saturday, Jan. 14, through Monday, Jan. 16, 2006. Activities include an awards ceremony, an evening gala featuring performances by West Virginia artists and an ecumenical ceremony service, a symbolic march, the annual bell-ringing ceremony. All activities are free and open to the public, with the exception of the awards ceremony.

The weekend’s activities begin on Saturday with a private awards ceremony honoring 19 young people, five individuals and three service organizations. The awards ceremony will be held at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex. Awards will be given for the YWCA’s 13th annual “Project on Racism Essay Contest,” a poster contest, the Service Organization Honor Roll and the “Living the Dream” Awards.

The Commission, the Division and WVSU also will sponsor a gala evening in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston on Saturday evening, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. Entitled “Voices of Hope in Times of Crisis,” the gala will feature such West Virginia artists as the Sisters of Praise from Ferguson Memorial Baptist Church performing a liturgical dance; Patricia Rosebourgh, program coordinator at WVSU with the dramatic presentation, “Last Call;” musical selections by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Male Chorus and Don Gresby, coordinator judicial affairs at WVSU; and an oral interpretation, “The Measure of a Man,” by the Charleston Area Performance Academy. A reception with light refreshments will follow the program.

On Monday, Jan. 16, an ecumenical service of tribute and remembrance of King will begin at 10 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 501 Elizabeth St., Charleston. The symbolic march and bell-ringing ceremony will take place from the church to the north face of the State Capitol at noon. Participants are invited for cake in the Great Hall of the Cultural Center immediately following the ceremony.

For more information or to find out more about the state’s Martin Luther King Day holiday activities, call the Division at (304) 558-0162 or visit the Commission’s web site at

The national Martin Luther King Day holiday was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1983. It is observed on the third Monday in January, falling on or near King’s Jan. 15 birthday.

The mission of the Martin Luther King, Jr. West Virginia Holiday Commission is to provide programs celebrating the life and principles of King’s philosophy of non-violence, lengthening his legacy. Strengthened by diversity, the Commission draws together members who strive to create opportunity for growth, leadership and power in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people.

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s web site at for more information about programs of the Division. The Department of Arts, Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.-30-

Ginny Painter
Deputy Commissioner/Communications Manager
West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History
The Cultural Center
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV  25305
Phone (304) 558-0220, ext. 120
Fax (304) 558-2779
Email [email protected]